Every Tuesday, Torontoist scours record store shelves in search of the city’s most notable new releases and brings you the best—or sometimes just the biggest—of what we’ve heard in Sound Advice.
‘Tis the season for new releases to dry up and for most people to be too holidaze-busy to take notice anyway. Local super-indie label Paper Bag Records recently celebrated their seven-year anniversary and now are saving the quiet season with Seven Year Itch, a free compilation of their current artists covering songs big and obscure. Its post-synth punk-and-pop weirdness makes the perfect (cheapest) party date.
Paper Bag Records was formed in 2002 to focus primarily on the local scene, and though its roster remains Toronto-centric, it has expanded over the years to include some of the finest in nu-indie from the rest of Canada and Europe. Opening with the triple-synthpop threat of Montreal’s CFCF (OMC’s “How Bizarre”) and Winter Gloves and Toronto’s Woodhands, these guys pick some of the most recognizable hits on the comp. The super-creepy monotone children’s chorus in Winter Gloves’ rendition of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” somehow manages to breathe life into a song that’s long lost its lustre (honestly, when is the last time you were excited to hear this song? Get excited!), and Toronto’s own party team Woodhands do the near-impossible and make Eddy Grant’s “Electric Avenue” cool and listenable (streaming above). Another local highlight is the garage-glam Slim Twig take on Outkast’s “Behold a Lady,” and Ottawa’s The Acorn stand out as a highlight with their uncharacteristically rambunctious take on Gowan’s “Strange Animal.” No offense, Gowan, but in case of needing a novelty-overdose antidote, skip to Little Girls‘ minimal Artery cover (“Heinz”) or Rock Plaza Central‘s raw take on Dylan’s “I Want You.”
Seven Year Itch serves as not only a great recap of the local label’s evolution and its quality, but as a boastful snapshot of some quality Canadian cool for newbies. Download the compilation for free from Paper Bag’s website.